It is your emotional intelligence that plays a major role in determining the course of your life

Do you believe that success in life is tied primarily to your intelligence or IQ? Not really. It is your emotional intelligence (EI) or Emotional Quotient (EQ) that plays a major role in determining the course of your life. How often have we come across people with great capacity but unsuccessful in life? Of child prodigies who don't quite live up to their potential? The reason apparently has a lot to do with emotional intelligence or the lack of it, which has rocked their boat on the journey of life. Emotional intelligence is the capacity to understand emotional information and to reason with emotions, and most important, the capacity to manage emotions. This also involves the ability to identify and name one's emotional states and to understand the link between emotions, thought and action. "Persons who are able to enter into emotional states (at will) and continue on their respective paths despite turbulences which crop up in life are the ones who end up achievers," says psychiatrist Prabhu Shankar. Emotional intelligence also includes the capacity to perceive, be sensitive to and influence other people's emotions. These are the ones who enter and sustain satisfactory interpersonal relationships, he adds."Though EQ is a term which has cropped up visibly in the last decade, the concept is not new in our country. Traditionally, we have always held up gunam (human behaviour) over human accomplishments," says psychiatrist Lakshmi Vijayakumar. "However, EQ as a concept is all the more significant today as there is so much turbulence that we face in terms of family structure, role changes and the multitude of challenges we need to cope with." In such a challenging emotional climate, strengthening one's emotional intelligence becomes critical. We need to prepare our children emotionally too, rather than just academically, if they are to succeed in life, for well and good. There are ways wherein you can enhance your or your child's EQ. Develop self-esteem. Teach your child to appreciate his positives and be at peace with himself. "Adolescence is a vulnerable time, an age when the child reacts too much to others' (particularly the peer group's) evaluation of himself. Teach the child the sanctity of internal validity," advises Dr. Vijaykumar. Even in this cutthroat era of competition that we live in, teach children that success and failure are part of life, so that the child doesn't crumble with failure when it strikes, she adds. We also need to teach children the value of patience, persistence and tolerance.As John D. Mayer, one of the early proponents of EQ, is quoted to have said, emotional intelligence may be the best predictor of success in life. Emotional intelligence is all about keeping your emotions and actions independent from your feelings, the ability to recognise, name and direct your feelings and use them in a positive way. Well, this sounds like the formula for a happy and peaceful life, leave alone a successful one. So, take time to nurture your emotional self. Psychiatrists today can analyse a person's emotional quotient through tests. There are also websites like and that offer online EQ appraisals. The trouble with EQ tests is that it is not objective unlike IQ tests, which has specific scores and which correlate clearly with academic scores. However, they can give you definite pointers to ponder upon.HEMA VIJAY